Stratospheric balloon launched from Antarctica's McMurdo base

December 17, 2004

A stratospheric balloon of Nasa was launched yesterday, December 16 at 1.28 a.m. Italian time from the Antarctica's McMurdo base. The balloon raised Cream (Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass) experiment up to 40 kilometres of height. In the experiment, coordinated by Eun Suk Seo of Maryland University, participate American universities (Maryland, Chicago, Penn State, Ohio), South Korea universities (Ewa, KyungPook) and an Italian group of Pisa, Siena, and Torino departments of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (Infn), directed by Pier Simone Marrocchesi.

The balloon, following circulation of winds high quote, will sail around the ice continent for about three weeks. During this time, data of great scientific interest will be gathered. These data concern flows of charged particles of highest energy (cosmic rays) coming from Space.

Cream experiment was conceived in particular to investigate the origin of cosmic rays and their acceleration mechanisms: two questions that are still waiting for a definite answer, in spite of the enormous advancements carried out in this field since 1912. At that time Victor Hess, thanks to his pioneer balloon flights, was the first to show the existence of radiation coming from Space.

Deepening and photos relating the balloon launch are available at the web page http://www.unisi.it/fisica/cream/
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National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN)

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